The Local Line: Bebop alto saxophonist Jackie McLean appears tonight and Saturday at d.c. space, backed by pianist Sonelius Smith (formerly with Rahsaan Roland Kirk), drummer J. R. Mitchell (with Jaki Byard) and bassist Kiyoto Fujiwara... "Art rockers" the B-52s, from Athens, Ga., headline 8 and 11 p.m. benefit concerts at the Corcoran School of Art tomorrow, with the Urban Verbs opening. The B-52s have been described by a Washington aficionado as "a Southern cross of Sci-fi and Beach Blanket Bingo"; they've been getting hot reviews, anyway... Judy Nylon performs in a "Motherhood and Terrorism" concert Thursday night at d.c. space... Jim and Jessi and the Virginia Boys kick off the Smithsonian's "American Country Music" series Sunday, 8 p.m., in Baird Auditorium at the Museum of Natural History.

Upcoming dates: Gino Vanelli at the University of Maryland, April 22; Rod Stewart at the Capital Centre, May 30; the Rubinoos join Elvis Costello at Georgetown, April 6; Vassar Clements with the North Star Band at Georgetown's Gaston Hall, March 2.

People magazine's "Chatter" column is airing rumors of a fight between Electric Light Orchestra and Detroit promoters who produced two ELO shows last August. The promoters claim the ELO lip-synched both shows. "You can't run around the stage and do spins, playing a viola, and get the great sound they had," says Bob Fox, head of Brass Ring Productions. "The group played two concerts on different nights which were each exactly 82 minutes long. Given that kind of precision, their performances were either canned or uncanny." An ELO spokesman replied, "If we were going to sit around and play tapes all night, we wouldn't need to haul millions of dollars worth of equipment around with us." People predicts a legal fight; we predict big publicity.

Rough Mix: Capitol-EMI, which has been manufacturing and distributing United Artists records since last May, has acquired the company for a reported $3 million and the assumption of UA's $32 million in liabilities... Tammy Wynette and Freddy Fender sing duet on the theme song, "No One Knows Better," from the new Marjoe Gortner movie of "When You Comin' Back, Red Rider?"... Representatives of WSM Inc., which owns and has been broadcasting the Grand Ole Opry live every weekend for 50 years, have been in Washington this week to lobby congressmen on the proposed legislation which would end WSM's "clear-channel" span across the country... Michael O'Harro of Tramps and Kevin Mills of Tiffanie are listed as panelists for Billboard's fifth annual Disco Forum in New York next week... On a dare, a Milwaukee Deadhead walked into 1812 Overture Records, base of station WLTX-FM, in a bikini to win two free tickets to an upcoming Dead concert.